Successful Total 24 Hours of Spa parade puts fans at the heart of the action
26th July 2018
Thousands of fans lined the roads into Spa town centre today as a phenomenal collection of contemporary and classic cars took part in the annual Total 24 Hours of Spa parade.
An essential part of the week-long festivities, the event was received as enthusiastically as ever ahead of the race’s landmark 70th edition.
While the 24 Hours can celebrate a history that stretches back to 1924, not all of its traditions are quite this old. First staged as recently as 2002, the parade has quickly become an immensely popular and firmly established part of the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Each year has seen the event grow bigger, both in terms of the participating machinery and the number of fans who attend, and 2018 proved to be no exception to this upward trajectory.
As ever, all of the cars that will take part in the Total 24 Hours of Spa were part of proceedings. That meant no fewer than 13 different brands were on show, representing a roll call of the world’s premier GT manufacturers.
What’s more, a number of iconic racing machines from the past and some highly impressive road-going GT cars joined the contemporary equipment on the parade route.
Among these storied machines was the legendary BMW 3.0L CSL, nicknamed the Batmobile for its distinctive aero styling. The same model was victorious at Spa in 1973 and 1976, accounting for two of BMW’s record 23 wins at the event.
While the CSL offered a glimpse into the past, the stunning Zerouno Coupe is a thoroughly modern machine. The high-end Italdesign Giugiaro car was also part of this year’s parade, providing a striking contrast between old and new.
There were more than a dozen other modern and historic machines on display during the parade, including the Ford Capri that won the 24 Hours in 1979 – the first race on Spa’s current 7km layout – and the Porsche 911 that triumphed in 1967. As ever, it was a feast for the eyes of every race fan.
Upon arrival in the town centre the cars were parked in front of Spa Casino, giving fans an opportunity to admire them up close. Drivers then signed thousands of autographs for the enthusiastic public, before heading to the theatre for the biggest drivers’ briefing of the year.
The day concluded with a return journey to the Spa-Francorchamps paddock in preparation for a very busy Thursday at the circuit. Once again, fans were out in force alongside the roads.
Thursday will see focus shift back to activities on the track. It promises to be a day of activity and drama, with four sessions – including qualifying – set to take place over a 12-hour stretch.
The action begins at 11:45 with free practice, which will represent the first chance this year for the entire field to test themselves on the 7km Spa circuit.
Pre-qualifying begins at 18:10 and will last for one hour, while at 19.35 fans will have another opportunity to meet the drivers with a pit walk and autograph session.
At 20:50 the most important session of the day takes place: qualifying for the Total 24 Hours of Spa. This will decide the 20 entrants who progress to Friday’s Superpole session, as well as the final grid slots for positions 21 and back.
With the parade complete and track action ready to take centre stage, the start of the 70th edition Total 24 Hours of Spa is drawing ever nearer.
Practical information – Total 24 Hours of Spa
When: 23rd – 29th July 2018
Tickets: www.24hoursofspa and www.ticketmaster.be
Monday July 23rd
Track day with Marc Duez 09:00 – 18:00
Tuesday July 24th
Track day with Marc Duez 09:00 – 12:00
Bronze test 14:55 – 17:55
Wednesday July 25th
Parade Spa 18:00
Autograph session 19:00-20:00
Thursday July 26th
Free Practice 11:45-13:15
Night Qualifying 22:30-24:00
Friday July 27th
Super Pole 18:30-19:00
Saturday July 28th
Starting procedure & Grid walk 15:35-16:30
Start of the 70thedition Total 24 hours of Spa 16:30
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Total – Official Partner of the Total 24 Hours of Spa
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With operations in more than 130 countries, Total is a top-tier international oil company and a world-class natural gas operator, refiner, petrochemical producer, and fuel and lubricant retailer.
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Blancpain – Innovation is our Tradition
Since 1735, Blancpain has been contributing to the development of mechanical watchmaking, while conserving the traditional skills of its founder
Blancpain is currently engaged to the renewal of mechanical watchmaking and to passing on exceptional expertise from one generation to the next through constant investment in human resources, production facilities and research. This approach is its strength and the expression of our long-term vision, even though it goes against the tide of a certain tendency to seek immediate profit.
From the creation of components through to watch design, Blancpain is distinguished by its ability to develop exceptional movements. Through its various models, Blancpain preserves its heritage of precision and elegance, while also displaying an innovative and occasionally provocative spirit. Its range encompasses the sportive Levolution line, the legendary Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch, as well as the classic Villeret collection, the high complication from Le Brassus collection and the Women models.
Pirelli – Official Tyre Supplier
Pirelli is a tyre manufacturer and world leader in the automotive industry. It has an exclusive relationship with over 50 racing series worldwide, including Formula One.
Pirelli has a long and illustrious history in endurance racing, and has also claimed a huge variety of class wins in GT racing all over the world. The design of the new Pirelli GT tyres meets the needs of GT racing while maintaining the performance characteristics that endurance drivers have appreciated in the past.The slick tyres used for GT racing are branded Zero: just like the slicks that have become a central feature of Formula One. The name P Zero is used in the highest categories of motorsport such as GT racing.
SRO Motorsports Group, the architect of modern GT racing
Over the past 25 years SRO has specialised in the promotion and organisation of motorsport series around the world.
Inextricably linked with GT racing’s revival in the early 1990s, currently SRO predominantly promotes series that adhere to the successful GT3 and GT4 regulations. Indeed, these rules – a common framework allowing manufacturers, teams and drivers to compete equally with one another – have helped to establish SRO as the global leader in customer GT racing.
Today, SRO’s influence and organisation can be seen around the world. Its flagship continues to be the European-based Blancpain GT Series, which features both the Sprint and Endurance Cups. Its annual highlight remains the iconic Total 24 Hours of Spa.
The same Pirelli tyres and Balance of Performance parameters governing the Blancpain GT Series have also been adopted in the United States by the Pirelli World Challenge (of which SRO is a shareholder), while SRO expanded its successful platform East in 2017 by establishing Blancpain GT Series Asia.
In addition, the world’s best GT races from all four corners of the globe are brought together under the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The 2018 edition features four events – the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours, and the California 8 Hours of Laguna Seca.
SRO is also strong domestically. The multi-class British GT Championship, over which it has presided since 2005, pairs GT3 with GT4 machinery. The FFSA French GT Championship, for many years run by SRO, returned to the fold in 2017, and was added to the existing GT4 European Series. GT4’s incredibly successful first season in France provided SRO with the blueprint and confidence to expand the class’ European footprint further. Three new regional series to support the flourishing GT4 class have been added in 2018: GT4 Nordic European Cup, GT4 Central European Cup and GT4 Belgium Cup.
In addition, SRO’s world-renowned Balance of Performance regulations are licensed by other series running GT3 and/or GT4 machinery, such as Super GT in Japan, the Australian GT Championship, the ADAC GT Masters and the VLN in Germany and the China GT Championship. SRO also works closely with the FIA when organising its prestigious Macau FIA GT World Cup race.
While Macau caters solely for professional teams and drivers, SRO also understands the important role amateurs play in GT racing’s global success and sustainability. That is why it operates the SRO Race Centre by MMC – a high-level technical centre at Circuit Paul Ricard in southern France – and Curbstone Track Events, which provide the ultimate track driving opportunities on world-renowned circuits. Many of its clients have subsequently graduated to the Blancpain GT Sports Club, the first competitive stepping stone towards gaining the confidence and racecraft required to compete in a Pro/Am environment.
SRO Motorsports Group is chaired by company founder and CEO Stephane Ratel and has offices in London, Paris, Liège and Hong Kong. Its dedicated team of full-time and freelance staff work with the support of numerous national sporting authorities and sanctioning bodies to offer teams, drivers and manufacturers the world’s best professional, Pro/Am and amateur GT racing platforms.
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